Hardwick Hall Grand Wedding Exhibition
Charlotte Balbier

pastels & petals. a bespoke emma hunt dress for an elegant wedding in north yorkshire – emma & jamie

January 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Pastel Wedding at Home (c) Nicola Denby Photography (37)

Ladies you’re in for an absolute treat today as this morning’s real wedding is brimming with pretty inspiration to take note of.

After tying the knot during a traditional church ceremony, Emma, Jamie and their wedding guests carried on the celebrations in an elegantly styled marquee, pitched in the bride’s parents’ garden.

We adore the pretty pastel colour scheme and in particular the maids’ muted coloured dresses and the a-maz-ing flowers created by Emma’s talented mum.

Top of our swoon-list though has to be the bride’s stunning bespoke gown, made by British designer Emma Hunt.

With images by Nicola Denby Photography.

A Pastel Wedding at Home (c) Nicola Denby Photography (31)

emma says: We got engaged in February 2014 in Dubai. Jamie had planned a surprise holiday during half term and I didn’t know where we were going until the day we were leaving, which also happened to be my birthday! On our first night in Dubai we went out for dinner at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Dubai Fountain. When we got back to the hotel room, Jamie got down on one knee and presented me with a gorgeous vintage style diamond ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes then burst into tears before calling our families to tell them the exciting news! Weeks before our engagement, I’d pointed out the style of ring I liked and Jamie had remembered and had a similar ring made especially for me!

We got married on 11th July 2015. As a teacher, I knew I wanted the wedding to be in the summer holidays so I could have some time before the wedding to do any last minute preparations and so we would have time to go off on our honeymoon afterwards. It worked perfectly and we were really lucky with the British weather!

A Pastel Wedding at Home (c) Nicola Denby Photography (18)

We got married at All Saints’ Church, Ripley in North Yorkshire. Jamie is from Winchester and I grew up near Harrogate and for the last 15 years my parents have lived in their beautiful home near Ripley. It’s a lovely village and the church is stunning. We knew straight away that it would be where we would hold our wedding.

We held the reception at my parents’ home which, as it turns out, lends itself perfectly as a wedding venue! It has super views over Harrogate with plenty of space for a marquee, drinks reception and even a bar in the stable! I had dreamt of having my wedding at home and it was just what we both wanted.

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under the awnings. amanda wyatt for a beautiful tipi wedding under canvas

November 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Tipi Wedding (c) Davenport Photography (35)

Today’s couple are based in New Zealand but bride Rosie and her fiance Nick headed home (to her Grandparent’s back garden no less!) to say their “I Dos”. Keeping things super relaxed but seriously pretty, Rosie and Nick had their perfect English wedding (with lots of Kiwi touches) under canvas.

With images by Davenport Photography.

A Pretty Tipi Wedding (c) Davenport Photography (42)

rosie says: Nick proposed on my 30th birthday (May 2014)! We were about to head out to meet my friends for drinks, when a tuk-tuk turned up on the driveway (we met taking part in an adventure rally, racing tuk tuks the length of Indonesia) and I just thought it was a cool birthday surprise. We were driven around my home town and out into the countryside, then we pulled up at a church in a tiny village called Alveston – the church that my parents were married at. We went for a walk around and Nick got down on one knee to propose. I don’t think I even looked at the ring (!) I just said yes and we hugged and cried for what seemed like hours. Then we got back in the tuk-tuk, he put on a song that he played to me on guitar when we first met, and we drove back to the bar where my friends and family were waiting for us. It was definitely the best birthday to date!

A Pretty Tipi Wedding (c) Davenport Photography (4)

We got married on 28th August 2015. Nick wanted to get married on a Friday and I wanted to get married on a significant date. We both wanted to have a summer wedding and choose a date close enough to the Rugby World Cup that any Kiwis coming over from NZ could catch the first games.

Our wedding day would have been my dad’s 60th Birthday (he passed away when I was 15) and so it was really special. And it fulfilled all of the criteria above!

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a wedding alphabet. O is for outdoor wedding

November 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Photography by Glass Jar Photography

image by Glass Jar Photography

As the rules on where you can and can’t say your ‘I dos’ have become more relaxed we’ve seen venue options for brides and grooms soar.

In particular there has been a notable rise in the amount of places couples can now wed outdoors, with many venues and land owners seizing the opportunity to get permanent structures, such as pretty barns, gazebos and band stands licensed for civil ceremonies.

Meanwhile those wanting to stick to tradition with a church ceremony need not to miss out on the great outdoors action as open air receptions hosted in pretty gardens, enchanting woodland and rolling fields, appear to be equally popular.

So for those that are wanting to take all, or just a part, of their big day celebrations outdoors, we’re exploring what’s needed to make it an al fresco delight rather than an out-in-the-wilderness fright.

Photography by Jonathan Stockton Photography

image by Jonathan Stockton Photography

hidden extras

A big plus point to outdoor weddings is couples’ freedom to have their wedding in an unusual location and to be able to do everything their own way, from the styling to the food. However, even if you’re fortunate enough to have parents with an adequate garden in which to pitch a marquee, be prepared to encounter costs you wouldn’t face when partying indoors.

Beyond the cost of the actual marquee or tepee, if you plan to hire one, you’ll need to think about electricity sources for lighting, catering and entertainment. Also is the flooring, stage, dance floor and a bar included in the cost or will these be extra? Oh, and is there running water and toilets on the site or will Portaloos be required?

And once that’s all taken care of you will need to think about hiring chairs, tables, cutlery, glassware, linen and possibly waiter staff. So though an outdoor wedding brings great flexibility, it can also come with its fair share of ‘hidden’ costs.

Photography by Award Weddings

image by Award Weddings

get creative

But it’s not all bad news, there are many pros to taking weddings outdoors – one of the biggest being the opportunity to get as creative as you like with the décor.

Most outdoor weddings take place in a blank canvass area – be it a barn, marquee or woodland – making the styling possibilities pretty much endless. Firstly couples can arrange their ceremony area, deciding how guests will be arranged, what style of seating they will rest upon, how to create a makeshift aisle, with the help of flowers and lighting, and whether to have backdrop at the alter, such as a floral archway.

Plans can then commence for the reception. Is there a marquee that needs to be styled and how can you incorporate the surroundings that are already there? For example stringing festoon lighting or bunting through the trees, using feeding troughs or wheel barrows as drinks coolers and hanging pompoms and pictures from branches. There is also the opportunity for a little fun by juxtapositioning furniture outside, such as old dressing tables and chests of draws, and using them for floral displays and cake stands.

And why stop at just one reception area? With no four walls as a boundary, outdoor couples can have a spot for eating and dancing, another for outdoor games and a quiet area for chilling.

Photography by Alexandra Holt Photography

image by Alexandra Holt Photography

be prepared for the elements

In Britain an open air wedding is not without risks, the most obvious danger being the weather. As we are blessed with conditions that are as unpredictable as what comes out of Katie Hopkin’s mouth, it’s best for those planning outdoor celebrations to have contingency plans in place. For example is there an area of shelter in case it rains and is hard flooring being laid in case the ground is soggy?

When deciding on decorations also consider the wind, the last thing you want is all your hard work being blown away.

Keep a close eye on the weather and prepare for last minute buys to cover all eventualities, such as parasols/umbrellas in case it turns out to be really sunny or rainy, blankets/throws for guests and jackets/boleros for the bride and her maids if the temperatures are set to drop.

Perhaps also put a little reminder in your invites about appropriate footwear depending on the terrain guests will be faced with so ladies don’t sink into sodden ground.

Photography by Elle&R Photography

image by Elle & R Photography

far out food

Another great area of flexibility to an outdoor wedding is the catering choices. Many indoor venues provide their own catering or offer a trusted supplier, which may restrict couples’ options, but this is generally not the case for open air venues.

To complement the freedom of being outdoors, many open air brides and grooms opt for relaxed and informal styles of wedding breakfasts, such as quaint afternoon teas, modern sharing platters and good old British barbecues. For those wanting to do away with formalities altogether there is also the option of picnics and street food vans. The latter option is quickly growing in popularity with couples loving the idea of wheeling in their favourite food (and drink) to serve up to their guests throughout the proceedings; whether it be an old fashioned ice cream cart, cool crepe van, rustic style pizzas or prosecco and Pimms on tap!

Practice your wedding planning ABC with the rest of our wedding alphabet series, here. 

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relaxed romance. a sage green outdoor wedding in chester – helen & michael

November 11th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Outdoor Wedding in Chester (c) Marky Kirk Photography (21)

Today’s bride and groom made their big day all about feeling relaxed and having fun. Though not wanting a church ceremony, Helen and Michael didn’t want to miss out on having their ceremony in a grand and historic building and so booked Chester Town Hall in which to say their ‘I dos’.

The party then got underway at their tipi reception complete with afternoon tea, barbecue, ice cream and a live band – what summer days and nights are made of!

With images by Marky Kirk Photography.

An Outdoor Wedding in Chester (c) Marky Kirk Photography (5)

helen says: We got engaged on a trip to The USA and Canada in summer 2013. We were in a Canadian Canoe in the middle of Lightning Lake in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia when Mike got down on two knees (to stop the boat from rocking!).

We chose 25th July 2015 so we could have plenty of time to plan the wedding and have fun doing it. Also, this happened to be the first weekend of the summer holidays. We got married at the Chester Town Hall as we wanted a non-religious ceremony but somewhere with a more traditional feel.

We also wanted a nice relaxed feel for the wedding without losing the historic grandeur usually offered by a church wedding, so the town hall fitted the formal side of the ceremony. Afternoon tea with a South African themed barbecue and ice cream in a tepee in a field followed, which provided the relaxed environment we wanted for the wedding breakfast and evening celebrations too.

An Outdoor Wedding in Chester (c) Marky Kirk Photography (59)

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love & laughter. a simply elegant wedding at natural retreats – kelly & sam

October 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (20)

While we adore all the little details of a wedding that make it beautifully individual we also love to see the expressions of the bride, groom and their guests captured on camera, to get a real feel for the day.

Looking at the images of Sam and Kelly’s big day it’s clear to see that this was an emotional and upbeat wedding that was brimming with love and laugher, plus the odd tear of joy.

So not only is the setting of this wedding beautifully natural, but so too are the expressions of those involved!

With images by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories and video by Silver Sixpence Films.

Sam and Kelly from Silver Sixpence Films on Vimeo.

kelly says: In September 2014 while we were both living in Dubai, Sam surprised me with a proposal at sunset on our boat and had booked us into a suite at the Yas Viceroy hotel. We made our way into the marina to be greeted by a huge banner saying ‘I can’t wait to make you Mrs. North’. I cried, a lot.

Sam had already checked into the suite and packed everything that I owned. He said we should keep the news private for a night so we could enjoy the evening without checking our phones and went for an incredible dinner at Cipriani.

The next day he had planned lunch. As we walked into the restaurant I’m sure my heart stopped. All of my friends were there and had known for two months about the engagement. After lots of tears and champagne we all went back to the suite for a good old party.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (1)

We chose the 17th and 18th July as the dates for our wedding weekend as it was the Eid break, which is a public holiday in the UAE, allowing all of our friends to travel to the UK for the wedding.

We have family and friends from around the world and so we needed a venue that could accommodate around 100 people in the same place. The hunt began in Cheshire and Yorkshire as that’s where we’re both originally from. We quickly realised that we wanted an outdoor space and would pray for sunshine on the day. Sam discovered Natural Retreats and the decision was made instantly – 5 star accommodation in a woodland retreat was exactly what we wanted.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (2)

Given the beautiful natural surroundings we wanted to keep everything very simple and elegant, so the general theme was rural elegance. We also chose to keep everything in neutral in terms of the colour scheme to let the countryside speak for itself. We had lots of white flowers and greenery, with the bridal party in neutral tones.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (5)

When it came to my wedding dress I tried on a few dresses to see what style suited me and quickly fell in love with the form fitting Galia Lahav and Inbal Dror pieces. I found a designer, Anne Rashid, in Dubai who helped create the perfect dress for me. Hand beaded pearls for the strapless corset top, a tight fitting skirt with a long train for the daytime, and a second skirt which flared and was easy to dance in for the evening.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (8)

Sam had a bespoke tailored suit made in Abu Dhabi in blue, which he wore with tan Paul Smith shoes and light pink accessories. The groomsmen wore grey suits and ivory ties, all hired from Debenhams.

The bridesmaids were given a neutral colour palette to choose their dresses from. Some of the girls chose to have them tailored by my wedding dress designer and others got theirs from Needle and Lace.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (18)

Our photographer was Paul Liddement, who we discovered after looking through quite a few online portfolios and felt instantly drawn to his style which is romantic and natural – exactly what we wanted. Looking through his photos made us feel like we were witnesses to special moments in time, rather than looking at posed shots.

Paul was fantastic on the day. He blended in with our guests, he provided direction, managed the shots, and was quick and efficient. Initially we were concerned the photos would look too staged or posed and would take up too much time from the day but Paul made us feel relaxed and the entire bridal party had fun. Paul was excellent overall and we’d recommend him to anyone getting married. He was creative and really listened to what we wanted to achieve.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (21)

Our ceremony and reception were all in the same location so we didn’t need transport, however we did drive off in Sam’s TVR T350 sports car.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (28)

Our amazing florist, Alice, from Forage & Blossom, took our brief of white flowers and created beautiful bouquets, table settings and an archway from delphinium, larkspur, sweet peas, ammi, astrantia, norma jean rose, vendela spray rose and Annabel hydrangea, to name a few.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (27)

All of our stationery was done by my lovely friend Maria Gedeon, who designed everything with a logo for our initials and calligraphy for everything else.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (32)

We like to work hard and party harder so we wanted our wedding to have a little bit of fun injected into the evening and so our favours were bottles of Jägermeister.

Our beautiful cake was made by Sam’s mother, Fiona, who created a delicious masterpiece. The cake was decorated by our florist.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (42)

Sam found our entertainment, a band called The Hoops, and booked them before we’d even found our venue! They were fantastic and played a mixture of hits and old time classics. The dance floor was full all night.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (65)

We added a few special touches to the wedding to make it all the more memorable which included making a welcome book featuring photos of all of the guests so people could get to know each other. Our table plan was a giant hedge with Polaroid pictures hung on string which was a great talking point as we had sourced the funniest pictures of each person.

We rented a golf buggy for guests to get around on and decorated it with ribbon and flowers. We also made our flower chandeliers by painting some wagon wheels white and hanging white wisteria from them. For the evening we added some glow sticks, blow up musical instruments and confetti canons to the dancefloor.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (67)

Natural Retreats is beautiful and we would recommend it to other couples. The view from the ceremony deck was spectacular and the lodges housed all of the guests and were luxurious yet homely.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (70)

Looking back at the wedding there were so many fantastic moments; from my mum holding my hand as we came over the hill and could see all of the guests on the ceremony deck, to seeing Sam at the end of the aisle. Sam seeing me walk down the aisle to an acoustic version of Here Comes the Sun was very special and partying all night with our friends is something we’ll always remember.

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (86)

For our honeymoon we jetted off to the Lux Resort in the Maldives for some much needed R&R!

A Stunning Outdoor Wedding at Natural Retreats (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (77)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember that teamwork is key to planning a wedding. We tried to split responsibilities and included each other in any decisions. Set up a joint email account and don’t leave everything until the last minute. Sam should have practiced tying his bow tie before the big day!

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roses are red. a styled shoot in the north east

October 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Portrait Shoot by Meagan Sarah Photography (9)

This morning on the blog we have a simple yet striking styled shoot that goes against the belief that ‘red and green should never be seen’.

Noticing how well the two colours complement each other in nature, Yorkshire based photographer Meagan Sarah, decided to set up a shoot that would showcase how the bold hues can actually work together well for brides in terms of their flower choices. In doing so Meagan also initiated somewhat of a friends reunion as she called upon pals of hers from when she was a teen (who also happened to have paved careers in the wedding industry) to help pull her vivid vision together.

The result is a beautiful natural shoot with a breezy boho edge captured in the hills of New Herrington and Penshaw in Sunderland.

To give you more of the details we will hand over to the lady herself, take it away Meagan…

With images by Meagan Sarah Photography.

A Pretty Portrait Shoot by Meagan Sarah Photography (29)

meagan says: My inspiration for the photoshoot came entirely through friendship. Really, I should probably have named the shoot just that, ‘Friendship’. Liz Rose Ridley (makeup artist), Nicola Bone (hair stylist) and Nicola Tatters (our model) are all my close friends from back where I grew up in Washington, Tyne & Wear. Never once did I imagine we would all head in a similar direction of the wedding industry as we all went our separate ways as teens.

Truth be told, I have wanted to do a styled shoot with Nicola Tatters since she got married as she looked so beautiful on her wedding day (she isn’t nor has ever been a professional model, hard to believe right!?). So I suppose I just bought some flowers, arranged a long overdue meeting with old friends, snapped away and these photos are the result.

A Pretty Portrait Shoot by Meagan Sarah Photography (14)

I chose to work with reds and greens as the idea of ‘red and green should never been seen’ is one that has always baffled me when it works so well in nature.

We had a fabulous backdrop of the fields of Penshaw and kept the shoot very light and basic, with one reflector in a field behind Nicola’s house. The weather was perfect, the location was ideal and the photos came out far better than any of us expected!

A Pretty Portrait Shoot by Meagan Sarah Photography (34)

A Pretty Portrait Shoot by Meagan Sarah Photography (33)

In terms of styling Nicola wore her own wedding dress, which was an Essence design that she originally purchased from Just Perfect in Durham. I then ordered a beautiful floral headdress and bouquet from The Great British Florist, to complete the red and green look we were going for. I chose to use this florist because they offer bridal bouquets to order directly online. You can give them your favourite and least favourite colours and from that they will select suitable flowers that are in season. They did a spot on job!

A Pretty Portrait Shoot by Meagan Sarah Photography (15)

I left the hair and makeup in the capable (and talented) hands of Liz Rose Ridley and Nicola Bone. After many years in the fashion industry working as a photographer, stylist and makeupartist, Liz has recently expanded her talents to bridal make-up, meanwhile Nicola is an award-winning stylist and salon owner specialising in wedding, prom and special occasion hair, so I knew the pair of them would be up for the challenge of a shoot.

A Pretty Portrait Shoot by Meagan Sarah Photography (11)

Overall my aim was simply to reunite talented friends, have a good laugh and see how we would work together. We were all over the moon with the results as nature blessed us that day with beautiful fields.

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